IPA Bellwether Report: Q1 2023

Now is the time for measurement to take centre stage

Against the backdrop of a challenging economic climate, this quarter’s IPA Bellwether Report offers positive signs for marketers. It’s encouraging to see that budgets have once again increased following a period of growth at the tail end of 2022. These findings also align with new research we recently conducted among senior marketers where over half said their annual content marketing budget had increased over the last 12 months and expect it to increase further over the coming year.

This Bellwether provides evidence that marketers are improving their ability to justify budgets and prove the return on investment from their marketing activities. What is particularly encouraging to see is that marketers are taking advantage of the opportunity that digital media provides and investing in analytics and data to accurately measure performance.

This is a crucial part of the marketing picture and something that is often overlooked, especially in long-form content, such as reports and white papers which are rarely given enough consideration as marketing materials. However, marketers (and brands) do not typically measure the performance of their marketing materials. When they do, this often comes in the form of basic metrics — such as PDF downloads or email open rates — which provide minimal insight into what ‘good’ performance looks like.

Given the continued growth of online advertising budgets, this deeper measurement of performance is something that marketers can increasingly target. After all, the ultimate goal of marketing is to capture reader attention and translate that into business outcomes, something that is impossible to manage without measurement. 

​​Engagement remains the marker of successful digital marketing, and analytics are key to helping marketers improve reader engagement and ultimately drive business outcomes. For this reason, baking a deep level of performance data into any online content will be an important part of the toolkit of the best-in-class marketer of the next few years.

Beyond analytics, the conversation needs to progress to how marketers can better engage audiences. In an overcrowded digital content marketplace, which is only becoming busier, audiences are becoming more discerning when selecting the content they consume. This means experimenting with personalisation, new formats, data interactivity and behavioural economics to create powerful and interesting marketing content that caters to readers’ needs, and encourages them to further engage with the brand.

We are seeing a world where marketing teams are increasingly focused on revenue and business objectives, prioritising spend based on concrete marketing objectives, proving the value of marketing using data and analytics, and further optimising marketing budgets based on this information. This more iterative marketing style will dictate what ‘best-in-class’ looks like — with data-driven approaches likely to become the industry standard.

Featured image: City of London / Pixabay

Nick Mason

Nick Mason is CEO and Founder of Turtl, the scientifically proven Content Platform that delivers better outcomes. After spending time with psychology professors at the University of Oxford, Nick realized the way businesses communicate online is at odds with how our brains work. In a world of too much information and too little time, Nick founded Turtl to help businesses stand out with captivating content and behavioral insights. An experienced and multi-faceted leader, Nick has led Turtl to transform digital content for the likes of Cisco, Bloomberg, Lexus, and Allianz. He speaks regularly on the topic of psychology in sales and marketing content.

All articles